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I’VE BEEN collecting thoughtful comments, or in some cases just great one-liners, from a variety of sources. Some come from movies I’ve enjoyed or books I’ve read, others from TV or radio, especially SiriusXM’s “Radio Classics.” Here are several, with bits of accompanying perspective.
The Bogart/Bacall flick To Have and Have Not, 1944, contains enough great lines to fill an entire book. One of my favorites is when Bacall’s Slim questions Bogie’s Steve on his overly attentive care of Mme. Hellene de Bursac, the French Resistance woman, who has fainted:
Slim: What are you trying to do, guess her weight?
Steve: She’s heftier than you think. Better loosen her clothes.
Slim (stopping him from doing so): You’ve been doing all right.
Later, Slim is glammed up for her nightclub act; Steve admires her dress, but insists on checking on the Resistance woman again:
Slim (with sarcasm): Give her my love.
Steve: I’d give her my own if she had that on!
Physicists Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr were both Nobel laureates for their fundamental discoveries leading to the physics of quantum mechanics. Einstein was honored in 1921, Bohr in 1922. Though they had lifelong mutual admiration, these physicists had differences concerning the probabilistic character of quantum measurement.
In a 1926 letter to another physicist, Max Born, Einstein wrote, “I, at any rate, am convinced that He does not throw dice,” which is often paraphrased as “God doesn’t play dice with the universe.”
On learning of this, Bohr is to have responded, “Einstein, stop telling God what to do with His dice!”
A bit of research indicates that Bohr’s alleged comment has lots of kin. Maybe it was physicist Enrico Fermi who said it. Maybe it was more or less succinct. In any case, modern physics and its still-continuing discoveries of quantum theory support the probabilistic model.
Another Bohr one-liner, also with variations, concerns the work of fellow physicist Wolfgang Pauli: “We all agree that your theory is crazy. The question that divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct.” This fits another Bohr comment: “Some subjects are so serious that one can only joke about them.”
Alan Turing, English mathematician famed for his work breaking the Nazi Enigma code, possibly shared Bohr’s work view when he was quoted saying, “It would be disingenuous of us to disguise the fact that the principal motive which prompted the work was the sheer fun of the thing.” Science is like that.
And so is comedy writing. The Jack Benny Show had whacky writers. In one dream sequence, Jack’s often exasperated neighbor, English actor Ronald Colman, is imitated saying, “If I were king, if I were king… each of my subjects would have five acres of land, a ten-room house and a glass with lipstick stains on it.” ds
© Dennis Simanaitis, SimanaitisSays.com, 2015
Nothing better said shouldn’t be unsaid.